Sep 06, 2016 08:50 UTC

The annual Hajj pilgrimage has started in the holiest city of Mecca, which along with Islam’s second most holy city, Medina, is unfortunately under the occupation of the Aal-e Saudi Wahhabi clan of the Najd, which has no right to be in charge of the Land of Revelation, especially in view of its crimes against humanity and its mismanagement of the Hajj.

Last year, the Wahhabi clique was responsible for the death of over 2,000 Guests of God, including 464 Iranian Hajj pilgrims. It is also worth remembering that in 1987 the Saudi regime had massacred in cold blood through firearms over 400 Hajj pilgrims, the overwhelming majority of whom were Iranian Muslim men and women, performing the religious obligation of “bara’at min al-mushrikeen” or disavowal of disbelievers, as commanded by God Almighty in Surah Towbah, and practically demonstrated to the Ummah by Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). The Saudi entity, which is a spurious state created by the British in 1932 and now firmly in the lap of the Great Satan, the US, is now openly dilly-dallying with the illegal Zionist entity, in addition to its funding of Takfiri terrorists to destabilize Syria, Iraq and other countries. In view of these facts, the state terrorism of Riyadh, which is now in its second year in Yemen, cannot be overlooked by the Muslim Ummah. Here we present you the opinion of a conscientious Pakistani journalist, Adnan Amer on the mischief against Muslims during the Hajj pilgrimage by Saudi Arabia.

Last year, when the death toll of Hajj pilgrims increased, many radio and TV channels started criticizing Saudi Arabia over negligence in the tragedy in Mena. It was a step in the right direction and news channels were asking all the right questions. Hajj last year proved to be bloody affair as over 2,000 pilgrims died in two separate incidents. First a gigantic crane crashed in the premises of Masjid al-Haraam or the Sacred Grand Mosque housing the holy Ka’ba in Mecca, resulting in the loss of lives of 107 pilgrims. Then a stampede at Mina, during the Jamarat ritual, took the lives of around 2,000 people including 52 Pakistanis, according to modest estimates. These two tragedies during Hajj are hotly debated, but what’s missing is the narrative holding the regime in Saudi Arabia responsible for both the incidents. The Mena tragedy reignited the Saudi-Iranian cold war in the public. The media in the Islamic Republic of Iran quoted anonymous Saudi officials to state that the stampede at Mena was caused due to VIP movement of Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy heir apparent of Saudi Arabia, who in turn tried to put the blame on what he alleged the lack of discipline of Iranian pilgrims.

As usual, the religion card was tactfully played by House of Saud to try to absolve itself of any responsibility in both Mecca and Mena tragedies. Saudi Grand Mufti termed both incidents as part of fate and destiny, which according to him are inevitable and can’t be forestalled by humans. Similarly the clerics in Pakistan, who have a soft corner for Saudi Arabia for reasons not hidden to anyone, came out openly in defense of the Saudis. They congratulated the families of victims, as their loved ones had achieved the distinction of martyrdom in holy land during Hajj period. It’s needless to say that there is an overwhelming majority of people who are ready to be deceived in the name of religion. As the death toll of Pakistani pilgrims increased, certain Pakistani channels started criticizing Saudi Arabia over negligence in Mena tragedy. It was a step in the right direction and news channels were asking all the right questions, but then came the PEMRA or the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. According to reports, PEMRA contacted the owners of all major news channels and strongly warned them against any criticism of Saudi Arabia. The flawed reason used by PEMRA is that criticism on Saudi Arabia would damage the relations of Pakistan with a supposedly brotherly Muslim country. This episode once again exposed the reality of the so-called freedom of expression in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia is responsible for all the management of Hajj related activities and therefore it is also responsible for any mishap. The responsibility for both Mecan and Mena tragedies fall squarely on the shoulders of the Saudi government and that can’t be hidden by playing religion card or using proxies in countries like Pakistan. At the moment there is uncertainty over the cause of the Mena stampede. As per the accounts of surviving pilgrims, quoted by International media, the stampede occurred because multiple routes were closed at the time. One can assume that routes were closed due to VIP moment of a Saudi Prince but nothing can be said with certainty until and unless transparent investigations are conducted.

Saudi government has announced to conduct investigations. However, independent analysts have criticized this decision. It’s illogical that Saudi Arabia would conduct transparent investigations when the government itself is responsible for negligence. The only viable solution out of this conflict is an independent investigation. But, who is going to conduct it? Legally speaking, there is no mechanism which can allow anyone outside of Saudi Arabia to conduct it. The investigation by Saudi Arabia would be nothing but a cover up job.

Now a year has gone by and nothing has happened. This year we pray to God to spare the pilgrims of any untoward incident. Ironically, Saudi Arabia has barred Iranian pilgrims from performing this year’s Hajj.

Moreover, the negligence of Saudi Arabia in dealing with Mena stampede should be a potential triggering point to challenge the hegemony of Saudi Arabia over holy sites of Islam. The holy sites of Mecca and Medina belong to the entire Muslim Ummah, assuming the notion of Ummah to be true. Hence, all the Muslim countries in the world should have joint control of all the matters related to Hajj without affecting the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. However, realistically speaking that’s almost impossible. When Muslim countries, minus Iran and Syria, can’t even criticize Saudi Arabia then how can they challenge its hegemony on historical Islamic sites?

Democracy in Pakistan, which is still in stages of infancy, is damaged by nothing more than creating new holy cows. Pakistan already has many holy cows internally that are beyond any criticism and addition of any external holy cow will not bode well for democracy in Pakistan. Therefore, the need of the hour is that Pakistan as a country should be able to criticize the government of Saudi Arabia which is responsible for Mecca and Mena tragedies.

The government of Pakistan ought to wake up to the realities, especially since a very important country like its neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been deprived of sending pilgrims to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, because of the intransigence of the Saudi regime and its questionable hegemony over the Land of Revelation.